The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

May 9, 2014

Helga Riedel

I created a Wikipedia page for the Deutscher Krimi Preis a while ago. Then I began to wonder - being on my usual hobby-horse these days - if these outstanding German crime novelists were ever published in English. The lack of English Wikipedia pages for the majority of the writers was a partial counter to my hope that I might find their works in translation. So I decided to translate the German Wikipedia pages for the various prize-winning authors. I'm too lazy to create new Wiki pages; instead, I'll put them up here.


Helga Riedel (August 24, 1942 - ) is a German writer, best known for her crime fiction.

She was born in Luckenwalde, Brandenburg. Her father perished at Stalingrad during the Second World War. To come of age, she got married in 1962. Four years later, she moved to Gelsenkirchen, where she began her writing career. Her first works were short stories published in local newspapers. She also wrote some poetry and plays. She was active in the Gelsenkirchen literary workshop (Literarischen Werkstatt Gelsenkirchen), where the crime writer Frank Göhre and Max von der Grün also participated.

In 1969, Riedel moved to Wyk auf Föhr (in the Friesian islands) with her children to be a teacher, having separated from her husband. One time, while hospitalised, she wrote her first crime novel, Einer muß tot, which is the story of a German teacher who marries a Turkish illegal immigrant. The book was published eventually only 14 years later.

Riedel's next novel was Wiedergänger (Revenants) which appeared in 1984. Just like its predecessor, this book was also set in northern Schleswig-Holstein.

Riedel's third novel Ausgesetzt was published in 1985. Set in the Adenauer era, between the years 1959 and 1962, it was written purporting to be a compendium of documents including a report on a teenager whose father loses his life.

That same year, Helga Riedel began her fourth novel Der kleine Tod. She suffered a serious car accident and was in a coma for a long time, which abruptly ended her literary career. There were other tragedies in her life as well - her mother believed that one of the characters in her books was based on her, and broke off contact. Her books disappeared from the shelves for several years; they were republished only in the 2000s.

Riedel was awarded the Deutscher Krimipreis for her first two books in 1985.

Since 1990, Riedel has lived in Itzehoe.

(Translated loosely from the German Wikipedia article.)


It doesn't look like her books have been translated into English.


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